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How to defuse a generational clash

by on
in Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

With many employees putting off retirement and staying on the job longer than they expected, it’s bound to happen: they have trouble reporting to a much younger manager.

Before the work relationship becomes irreparable or an age discrimination suit is filed, have a chat with the veteran employee.

  • Remind them: Even if they don’t respect their young manager personally, they are expected to respect the manager’s position of authority.
  • Encourage them to keep their skill sets up-to-date. Ask what types of training they’d be interested in getting; they might have something in mind that would benefit both them and their department.
  • Point out some of the positive characteristics and contributions younger managers make to the company. For instance, older employees who are accustomed to the importance of “face time” might gripe that the younger managers leave work at 4:30 each day; you might point out that these same managers frequently work late into the night from home.

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